Police bid to retain helicopter

SUFFOLK Constabulary looks set to retain its police helicopter - despite costs of more than £3,000 a day.Police authority members are being asked to back a plan to buy a new aircraft for 2010 at a cost of £1.

SUFFOLK Constabulary looks set to retain its police helicopter - despite costs of more than £3,000 a day.

Police authority members are being asked to back a plan to buy a new aircraft for 2010 at a cost of £1.4million - with running costs of £3,108 a day.

But they say this option is cheaper than axing the helicopter altogether and buying in air support from other agencies.

It comes after police chiefs carried out a review of the force's helicopter, which will be no longer fit for purpose in 2010, in a bid to identify possible savings.

The force had considered collaborating with neighbouring forces over air support and a business case on the issue is due to be published later this year.

A report to the police authority said that air support was vital for carrying out four crime-fighting activities - search, evidence gathering, operational support and vehicle pursuit.

Most Read

It added: “Possibly the most important disadvantage is the unquantifiable cost of officer safety and the safety of the wider community if an external supplier was unavailable or unable to provide a rapid response.”